New twist to Buyanga property fraud case

HARARE - A Harare man who reportedly lost his house to business tycoon Frank Buyanga has claimed a firm that bought his foreclosed property was actually the businessman’s shelf company, a magistrates’ court heard yesterday.

Stephen Nyoka made the claim as he was testifying in a case in which Buyanga is, however, not the one being charged for the fraud but a property manager, Bishop Jeche, 45, and his company — East Rivet Investments (Private) Limited.

Jeche allegedly lied that they had become the property’s owners after buying the house for $35 000 from Buyanga.

Jeche and his company are being charged with perjury, money laundering and fraud before Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya on September 13.

The complainant is the State represented by Stephen Leonard Nyoka.

Prosecutor Michael Reza alleged that sometime in August 2009, Nyoka entered a loan agreement of $19 000 with Buyanga and his company Orton’s Drift Properties.

The terms of the loan were that an interest of 10 percent per month would be paid together with the capital within three months.

However, since Buyanga’s company was not a registered money lender, the loan agreement was to be concealed by disguising it through a simulated agreement of sale of Nyoka’s house number 6 Danbury Avenue, Mabelreign in Harare.

Nyoka insists that East Rivet Investments was actually one of Buyanga’s companies and that documents were manufactured to process deeds transfer of his house behind his back.

He has since been evicted from the property following issuance of a High Court order that endorsed Jeche as the rightful owner.

“I realised that Buyanga owned several shelf companies including the one purported to be the accused person’s and I was never interviewed by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority in connection with a capital gains clearance certificate as per procedure,” Nyoka said.

“I later discovered that Buyanga doctored one to empower himself to process transfer of my property. I was not selling my house but just acquired the loan and I feel the property belongs to me because transfer was fraudulently executed.’

However, Admire Rubaya disputed that saying ownership of a property was only ascertained through a title deed registered in the owner’s name.

He said because there was no court order substantiating that the property could have been transferred illegally, Nyoka’s claims were baseless.

“You want to use criminal proceedings to resuscitate your ownership of the said property? For that reason you would want the court to convict the accused person so that you may say ownership was bedevilled by fraud?’’ Rubaya asked.

Rubaya added that Nyoka had made various fruitless efforts to nullify court orders that had been passed in favour of Jeche as he was now deemed the legal owner of the property.

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